On Tuesday, the Senate and House of Representatives voted on bills to combat the Zika virus. Of course, as usual, it turned into an “Us against Obama” fight; however, one Republican was super pissed off about it and slammed his own party for playing games with people’s health: Senator Marco Rubio.
The Zika virus is a huge threat for the United States, but Congress hadn’t bothered to address it until this week. The illness is passed by mosquitos and if it infects a pregnant woman it could cause the fetus to develop severe abnormalities. President Obama has asked Congress to allocate $1.9 billion to fight the virus. The House of Representatives did what they always do and gave the president a fraction of what he asked for — $622 million.
The House’s refusal to fully fund the bill really, really pissed Marco Rubio off and he blasted them, as well as Senate Republicans, during his speech:
“I support fully funding the requests made, people say the president’s request. Fine, it came from the White House. But it’s really the scientists’ requests, the doctors’ requests, the public health sector’s requests for how to address this issue.”
Oh shit! Rubio said something has been backed by science. He must have forgotten how much his Republican colleagues hate science.
The senator went on to say that 112 people have already been infected in Florida, Puerto Rico is being ravaged by it and the Senate needs to take it seriously:
“Why take the chance that at some point this summer we could have a significant and serious outbreak in the United States of America, and everybody here is going to be back in their home state doing their campaign stuff or whatever you’re doing this summer, and you’re going to have to come back here and either deal with it and explain to people why, when doctors and medical experts were warning us that this was a significant risk, we decided to lowball it….”
Again, Little Marco seems to have forgotten who he is speaking to. Republicans do not care if something will hurt the people (HELLO government shutdown of 2013!), the only thing they care about is the fact that the Obama administration asked for the funding. The GOP Congress has one mode: Obstruct. That’s it. That is basically what they do from the beginning of their terms to the end of their terms. Hell, they refuse to even hold Supreme Court nomination hearings because they are politicking so hard.
Finally, Rubio called out the House for their dangerously underfunded bill:
“Why are we taking this chance? It makes absolutely no sense. I would also say that while I am happy that today, hopefully, the Senate is about to take action on this issue, I’m concerned about what I hear coming from the House…their funding measure isn’t even $1.1 billion. It’s $622 million. Quite frankly, that’s just not going to cut it.”
The Senate ended up passing a $1.1 billion package to combat Zika but that is not enough. It should have been fully funded. Unfortunately, the Republican Congress does not take the health of Americans seriously. If there happens to be a huge breakout, I guarantee we will hear these very same members of the GOP blame it on Obama. Because if there is one thing stronger than their obstructionism, it is their Obama Derangement Syndrome.
It was nice to see Marco Rubio actually show up for work for once and do his job. Maybe if he’d done that more often he wouldn’t be leaving the Senate at the end of his term with his tail between his legs.